Thin films of boron nitride (BN), particularly the sp2-hybridized polytypes hexagonal BN (h-BN) and rhombohedral BN (r-BN), are interesting for several electronic applications, given the bandgaps in the UV. They are typically deposited close to thermal equilibrium by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) at temperatures and pressures in the regions 1400–1800 K and 1000–10 000 Pa, respectively. In this letter, the authors use the van der Waals corrected density functional theory and thermodynamic stability calculations to determine the stability of r-BN and compare it to that of h-BN as well as to cubic BN and wurtzitic BN. The authors find that r-BN is the stable sp2-hybridized phase at CVD conditions, while h-BN is metastable. Thus, their calculations suggest that thin films of h-BN must be deposited far from thermal equilibrium.

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